Author Topic: Camping with toddlers, how to sleep?  (Read 3538 times)

jpdx

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Camping with toddlers, how to sleep?
« on: May 20, 2019, 11:55:11 PM »
Building on this old thread:

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/mini-money-mustaches/camping-with-toddlers/msg346500/#msg346500

We have a 2 1/2 year old who we want to take car camping this summer. We've been camping more times than can count, but never since becoming parents. Our only concern is getting the little one to sleep. He sleeps every night in a crib and I can't imagine him falling asleep in a tent -- especially if the sun is still shining past bed time! Any tips? Do you use a pack-and-play inside a giant tent?

I'm a red panda

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Re: Camping with toddlers, how to sleep?
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2019, 12:22:59 AM »
We use a pack and play in the tent. Bedtime is a but later than regular, but the sun is still up

gooki

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Re: Camping with toddlers, how to sleep?
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2019, 03:37:46 AM »
Lying down next to the worked for us.

Laserjet3051

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Re: Camping with toddlers, how to sleep?
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2019, 08:47:45 AM »
we never had problems doing this. sun goes down,  time for our toddler to sleep. parent lays down for a few beside them, kid falls asleep, parent exits tent and joins spouse by the campfire. Simple.

toddler gets a sleeping bag and sleeping pad just like mom and dad.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2019, 08:49:22 AM by Laserjet3051 »

v8rx7guy

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Re: Camping with toddlers, how to sleep?
« Reply #4 on: May 21, 2019, 09:20:59 AM »
For that age, we also used a pack 'n play.  You'll need a larger tent to pull this off.

sideHustler

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Re: Camping with toddlers, how to sleep?
« Reply #5 on: May 21, 2019, 09:23:24 AM »
Wow, you have more guts than I do. I wouldn't even attempt this with my 2-year old.

GuitarStv

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Re: Camping with toddlers, how to sleep?
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2019, 09:31:01 AM »
Put the toddler in the tent, zip the tent up so he can't get out then curl up in the trunk of your car with earplugs to soften the screams.

dashuk

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Re: Camping with toddlers, how to sleep?
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2019, 12:17:25 PM »
Accept they probably won't sleep until it's dark, and that nothing terrible will happen if that is the case.

Seriously, the amount of "what have we done" horror we've had on the first couple of nights of trips because we'd forget this between trips and try to maintain 'normal' bedtime.

Lying down with them did help for us.

Margie

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Re: Camping with toddlers, how to sleep?
« Reply #8 on: May 21, 2019, 01:43:46 PM »
no need for a pack n play if you have a smaller tent...just give them air mattress and sleeping bag...but make sure you put zippers up high so they can't get up before you and escape or slip out at night and you don't hear them...

Camping with kids is a breeze, let them play, tire themselves out and they will most likely pass out after 10 min of campfire...put them in tent and they will sleep well due to the fresh air!

Get them used to it early as camping is such a nice family thing to do!

Kmp2

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Re: Camping with toddlers, how to sleep?
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2019, 03:04:45 PM »
Pack and Play, or just a sleeping pad with a bag. The first night might be a little tough to fall asleep if they haven't been playing outside all day and are excited, but the second night they will likely sleep just after dinner and not wake up till morning.

I've only every had trouble with camping with babies, tots and kids, is if they get cold, so if your anywhere at altitude or where the overnight temperature dips, bundle them up.

A test night close to home, or in your back yard can be a wonderful thing too.

mm1970

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Re: Camping with toddlers, how to sleep?
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2019, 04:51:00 PM »
Pack and Play
Mat and sleeping bag

Can't remember how old my second kid was when we did each of those.

Wait, google photos!  He was two, and we used a pack and play.  But he woke up in the middle of the night crying "mama".  So my husband took him out and snuggled him into my sleeping bag/ cot with me.  I didn't know it until I woke up.

Next time he was probably 2.5 or 3 and we switched to mat/ sleeping bag.

cats

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Re: Camping with toddlers, how to sleep?
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2019, 04:55:17 PM »
Ours just sleeps on the floor of the tent with us.  First camping trip was around 15 months.  Bedtime does take a little longer than usual but ultimately he has always fallen asleep (and also taken afternoon naps in the tent).  Bring several books and be ready to sing a lot of lullabies.

kimmarg

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Re: Camping with toddlers, how to sleep?
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2019, 12:09:04 PM »
We've camped every summer at 6 months, 18 months, 2.5 years.  Sleeping Pad and sleeping bag. Some aspects of the home routine stayed - we change into PJs and then read books in the tent and bring the necessary blankie/stuffed animals.  Some aspects changed - bed time is a bit later to allow for how light it is although not all the way to dark. Parent staying in the tent rubbing the back helped too. The first year we just used a fleece sleep sack but we purchased a sleepign bag when they got bigger and that's worth it if you go a lot.

justkeepswimming

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Re: Camping with toddlers, how to sleep?
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2019, 12:16:10 PM »
PTF - we are hoping to plan a simple camping trip this summer with our kid who will be almost 1.5, but it is daunting!

ice1717

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Re: Camping with toddlers, how to sleep?
« Reply #14 on: May 28, 2019, 11:18:12 AM »
PTF - we are hoping to plan a simple camping trip this summer with our kid who will be almost 1.5, but it is daunting!

My $0.2... Nap times and bedtimes have to be more flexible than normal routine.  Other than that, I've found all the outdoor activity makes nap/bedtime much easier than at home! 

We just back from a camping trip.  My 18 month old, who normally resists all naps and bedtimes, fell a asleep for naps in about 2 minutes while being held by a parent.  Picked the little one up, walked toward the tent, they snuggled in, and out like a light.  The outdoor exercise really helped with going to sleep.  Also, ended up adding back in a longer 2nd nap that has pretty much gone away at home. 

Bedtime was the same as others have said.  Laid down on the sleeping bag, snuggled, and again out like a light with hardly any resistance. 

ChpBstrd

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Re: Camping with toddlers, how to sleep?
« Reply #15 on: June 05, 2019, 03:46:51 PM »
Wow, you have more guts than I do. I wouldn't even attempt this with my 2-year old.

We took our 2 y/o camping. After a while by the campfire she announced “I’m tired”, went to the tent by herself, opened it, closed it, and crashed for the night.

With the same kid at 4 years old however, we had to abort a camping trip at midnight and drive home because the tent wasn’t level and she was screaming for hours about it. Of course she slept in the car.

Teachstache

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Re: Camping with toddlers, how to sleep?
« Reply #16 on: June 11, 2019, 01:50:28 PM »
We just took our 4 year old son camping. We started by showing him the tent, then we set it up in the backyard & let him play in it. The next night, we all slept in the tent in the backyard. After that was successful, we took it for a one night overnight camping trip. We've now done 4 one night camping trips & plan to do a multiple night camping trip later in the summer. He's on the Autism spectrum, so we weren't sure how he'd take to it, but he seems to really enjoy it. We're hoping that by building up his tolerance, we'll be able to take a 3-5 day camping trip to Rocky Mountain National Park next summer. I'd just suggest trying it out incrementally & perhaps even see how you & your partner handle camp set up in your backyard before you go, so that you aren't beset by surprises when you're actually at the campsite. Spouse & I camped & backpacked quite a bit before we became parents & we found that we needed the dress rehearsal just as much as our kid did.

kimmarg

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Re: Camping with toddlers, how to sleep?
« Reply #17 on: June 12, 2019, 09:32:36 AM »
Just spent 2 nights in a tent with 3.5 year old and 3 month old. Went fine.  3 month old was up the same amount as at home.  3.5 year old crawled out of sleepign bag in the middle of hte night and woke up cold but we put 'em back in and they went back to sleep.

NorCal

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Re: Camping with toddlers, how to sleep?
« Reply #18 on: July 22, 2019, 09:02:24 PM »
Mileage will vary by kid.  We brought both our kids camping the first time around 2.

The oldest fell asleep, just like at home with no problems.

The youngest yelled and screamed for hours trying to escape the tent.  Fun parenting times.

Good luck, and have fun!

smoghat

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Re: Camping with toddlers, how to sleep?
« Reply #19 on: July 22, 2019, 09:15:16 PM »
When they are teenagers you can get tents for them, until then forget it! That worked for us.

ysette9

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Re: Camping with toddlers, how to sleep?
« Reply #20 on: July 22, 2019, 10:44:03 PM »
I want to go camping!

We tried once as a family with an almost 4 year-old and a baby. It was a complete disaster with lots of screaming and almost no sleep on my part.

Looking back on it what we needed was a two big blow up mattresses side by side, or someone carpeting the tent floor with sleep mats. It was way too hard to keep wiggly little people on a narrow single sleep mat.
Hard to keep the baby warm. Impossible for me to relax and get comfortable. Eventually we will try again, but no time soon (expecting yet another little). I admire those who do it and am interested in your tips on what works.

cats

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Re: Camping with toddlers, how to sleep?
« Reply #21 on: July 23, 2019, 10:05:05 AM »

Hard to keep the baby warm. Impossible for me to relax and get comfortable. Eventually we will try again, but no time soon (expecting yet another little). I admire those who do it and am interested in your tips on what works.

I have gotten much pickier about camping weather since having kids.  Pre-kids we used to go backpacking over holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc.  With a young kid camping in that kind of weather is not so fun.  1) Nights are long, so you wind up with a lot of time in the tent and not so much time outside getting exhausted, and 2) toddlers do not stay in sleeping bags well.  We went on one trip to Yosemite where it was getting down around freezing and our son woke up a LOT and I do think it was because he kept throwing off covers and getting cold.  Now I don't think I would go on a camping trip if overnight temperatures were going below 45F, once he can actually stay under blankets/inside a bag I will reconsider.

I do pack things like warmer pajamas and if it is on the cooler side I will absolutely put our kid to sleep wearing a sweater and slippers as well as PJs.  He also generally sleeps between my husband and myself which is the warmest part of the tent.

Kmp2

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Re: Camping with toddlers, how to sleep?
« Reply #22 on: September 10, 2019, 09:15:42 AM »
Hard to keep the baby warm.

Yep - we took a 5 month old to yellowstone in September for 2 weeks, it was cold!

She wore a combination of wool, fleece and a down sleep sack (Armless), had socks over her hands, toque and jacket hood on her head. She wasn't rolling yet, if she was it would have been much harder to keep her warm and in a somewhat safe sleep zone too.  We do have a catalytic tent heater but I wouldn't use it because we didn't bring the pack'n'play on that trip I was paranoid she would start rolling and end up beside it - she was obviously my first kid :)

The first night is the worst, it really does get better the second night and onward - you all adjust.

CNM

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Re: Camping with toddlers, how to sleep?
« Reply #23 on: September 10, 2019, 10:07:56 AM »
We started camping in a tent with our oldest at about 2 years old.  This is what we did.  We hung out until it was time for bed.  He then slept in between us in his own sleeping bag w/ pad.  Done. 

Malum Prohibitum

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Re: Camping with toddlers, how to sleep?
« Reply #24 on: September 11, 2019, 04:43:25 AM »
I camped this weekend - 2.5 year old and 5 year old, stuck them on the same air mattress, read them a bedtime story, and they tried to talk and stay up a little like they do at home, and I told them to quiet down and go to sleep like I do at home, and they went to sleep. 

Scandium

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Re: Camping with toddlers, how to sleep?
« Reply #25 on: September 27, 2019, 12:51:03 PM »
I camped this weekend - 2.5 year old and 5 year old, stuck them on the same air mattress, read them a bedtime story, and they tried to talk and stay up a little like they do at home, and I told them to quiet down and go to sleep like I do at home, and they went to sleep.

Mine are this exact age, and this is my main concern with camping with them, came here to ask this. Sounds like yours did pretty well. Did a "test camp" in the yard with the 5 yo and he did great. But his sister could be a challenge.. Getting her to stay in her regular bed is hard enough. And the two of them together go nuts and fly around at bedtime. Some sort of separation might be required. Or possibly put her down first, then him an hour after she's asleep?

Anyone else have experience camping with two little ones?

max924

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Re: Camping with toddlers, how to sleep?
« Reply #26 on: October 02, 2019, 11:31:17 AM »
We have a 3 yr old and a 5 yr old. We have been camping every year since our oldest was only 6 months(although that was a test run 1 nighter). No need for a pack and play (just another thing to pack) if they are contained in the tent. When our second came along we brought a second tent so they could be put down separately and she would not bother the older one with her crying etc. Now that they are older we just put them down together.

Although it seems like an insurmountable challenge to get them down at first we find if you are steadfast in your routine (sleeping arrangements/stories, etc.) it usually always works out and we get some well deserved parent time around the campfire sans kids.

This year we bought a VW camper so we have slightly upgraded from tent camping, but we plan on doing some backpacking hopefully next year with them.

My advice is to just do it, don't get anxious about the sleeping. Kids love freedom in the outdoors and will wear themselves out enough that they will eventually fall asleep. Ours continually try to delay it but you have to be steadfast that it is lights out time. Last weekend camping our 3 year old was demanding peanuts and my wife gave in at first but then said enough is enough, she was whimpering for peanuts and then in the same sentence began snoring...